What happens when an artist finds a new source of energy?
"Park Spark" Project by Matthew Mazzotta
Turning Dog Waste into Energy
First public methane digester for dogs in the world is in Cambridge!
Location: Pacific Street Park (Sidney St. between Pacific and Tudor), Cambridge
Dates: August 25 - September 25, 2010
The Cambridge Arts Council invites you to visit and participate in the Park Spark Project - a scientific-art intervention that transforms dog waste into energy. Artist Matthew Mazzotta has installed the first Dog Park Methane Digester in the United States at Pacific Street Park in Cambridge. As dog owners dispose of their pet's waste in the Park Spark Digester, it creates a steady stream of burnable methane gas that powers an old-fashioned gas-burning lamppost in the park.
Addressing a Problem
Though little known to the general public, dog waste that is bagged and thrown in the trash must then be transported to a waste facility, where it then continues to create methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that is released into the atmosphere. Funded through MIT, and in partnership with the City of Cambridge, The Park Spark Project is a simple and effective solution to this problem; converting the waste to methane on-site, dramatically reducing greenhouse emissions and creating usable energy. Mazzotta hopes to install permanent underground digesters in parks, not only in Cambridge, but throughout the country.
Creating a Situation for Civic Engagement
Currently, at Pacific Street, the Park Spark project burns the methane in a lamppost. However, the energy can be used in any number of ways - a shadow projection box, a popcorn stand, or even a tea house. In fact, in the spring of 2010, Mazzotta developed a similar project in the Netherlands that used the energy to boil water for a tea house where the community would convene and share tea.
In the next couple of weeks the Park Spark project will be a holding number of design meetings to gather ideas from the community for how to best use the flame. Unique ideas are expected to come from this new way of interacting with local surroundings and the community.
First Meeting: Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 7:00 p.m.*
Livable Streets Alliance
100 Sidney Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
Park Spark Project asks us to participate - bring your dog, bring your ideas!
For more information, call the Cambridge Arts Council at 617-349-4389, or visit www.parksparkproject.com
Support provided, in part, by
:: Park Spark Press Release - updated 8/23/10
:: A Brighter Way For Dog Waste - AOL Energy, 7/12/11
:: Renewable energy from dog poop, Public Radio International, 9/29/10
:: Dog Waste Becomes Power Plant for Park, Associated Press, 9/22/10
:: Poop Power Lights Night At Local Park, WCVB Channel 5, 9/22/10
:: Dog poop powering Cambridge park lamp, WHDH Channel 7, 9/22/10
:: Outdoor Fun: Cambridge Art, CityLine Interview with Artist Matthew Mazzotta & Lillian Hsu, Dir. of Public Art & Exhibitions, WCVB Channel 5, 8/22/10
:: Artist's Poo-For-Fuel Project, WBUR's Radio Boston, 9/14/10
:: Interview with Matthew Mazzotta, BBC News Hour, 9/13/10 (Interview starts at 20:13)